When and why were baseball caps invented?

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Wearing a baseball cap might be seen as a modern look, but did you know that caps have more than a century and a half of history?

The cap as we now know it was first worn by the Brooklyn Excelsiors during their National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP) championship of 1860. It had the features we associate with baseball caps today, including the long, stiff visor and button on the top. As the sport moved into the 20th Century, it became popular with other teams, who began embroidering images of the club’s logo or initials onto the front of the cap.

The journey of the cap from the baseball fields to the city streets was more of a gradual process influenced by several factors. In his book ‘Ball Cap Nation’, James Lilliefors notes the role of television in popularising the cap, both in terms of the greater coverage of live sports, and the 1980s emergence of fictional characters like Magnum P.I. who would regularly sport caps.

Also in the ‘80s, the birth of MTV meant that fashion and aesthetics played more of a role in music, and young people were able to see how their favourite artists looked and dressed. The baseball cap became particularly associated with rap and hip-hop thanks to groups like the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy – a legacy continued today by the likes of Jay-Z and Kanye West.

Few items of clothing have made the transition from the sporting arenas to the fashion-focused wardrobe as effectively as the baseball cap. As baseball cap wholesalers at Flexfit, we believe the cap will continue to evolve over the next century.

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